Sir Mike Penning condemns the report of the Commission on Human Medicine’s expert working group on hormone pregnancy tests as a “whitewash.”
I know the Minister very well. He is a passionate and caring Minister, but I am afraid that I disagree with many of the things he said this morning. The families do—I think, rightly—feel that the report is a whitewash. Material has been removed from the draft, and the group looked into matters that were not within its remit. The question of a causal link was not in its remit. The question was whether there was link with a drug that was often given to our constituents with no prescription: a drawer would be opened, and it would be handed out to them so that they could find out whether they were pregnant. An open inquiry was needed, but I am afraid that the families, and many Members who are present today, will not feel that that was what happened. Will the Minister please meet the families again, with members of the all-party group, and try to understand why they are so upset? Will the Minister please also watch last night’s report on Sky News, which exposes much of what has being going on over many Parliaments? No matter who was in government, Governments have ignored these people, and we cannot continue to do so.
My right hon. Friend and I do know each other very well, but I am afraid we will have to agree to differ on this; I do not agree that this is a whitewash. At the request of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests, an expert, Nick Dobrik, who the House and outside world will know well as a respected and well-known thalidomide campaigner, attended all meetings of the expert working group and was invited to give a statement to the Commission on Human Medicines. Mr Dobrik is many things, but the notion that he is some sort of Government yes-man who would have allowed a whitewash to go on does not stand up to much scrutiny, if any at all.